Let's raise some money!

Compassionate Whidbey islanders are reaching out to help survivors in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

People from all walks of life on Whidbey are trying to find ways to contribute directly or to raise money. Thousands of survivors need housing and feeding as rescue and relief efforts continue.

Five professionally trained disaster relief workers from here have apparently arrived in the devastated region but haven’t been heard from yet. This, no doubt, is the result of disruption in communication systems, said Barbara Johnson, executive director of the Island County Chapter of the American Red Cross.

The Red Cross has already accommodated more than 142,000 men, women and children in 487 shelters in 18 states.

And more needs are expected to emerge as those who have fled the Gulf region use up personal and family resources and turn to the Red Cross for assistance.

Red Cross volunteers have heard about five local families reunited with relatives who fled the storm, she said.

It is still too early to predict either the magnitude of the death toll or to measure the enormity of the needs that will emerge from those who survived.

Whidbey islanders aren’t waiting to find out. Here’s a list of fund-raising events announced this week:

l Dinners and a silent auction at Christopher’s Front Cafe in Coupeville Friday, Sept. 9. Proceeds from dinners sold between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m., plus the staff’s gratuities, and money from a silent auction of artwork donated by local artists, will be go directly to the American Red Cross. Dinner reservations are recommended. Call 678-5480.

l Schisler Trucking will park a truck and trailer at the Oak Harbor Assembly of God Church, 319 S.W. 3rd., on Friday, Sept. 9. Donations of tarps, water, diapers, cleaning supplies and hand tools are requested. Schisler Trucking will haul the truck to the Gulf region. For information call 360-929-5035 or 360-675-4852.

• Operation Relief Lanes swings into action on Saturday, Sept. 10, at the Oak Bowl. From noon until 4 p.m., after making a donation bowlers will be able to bowl for one hour. A minimum $20 is requested, but less will be accepted. All donations and money collected from open bowling will go to the American Red Cross. For more information, call John Youngsman Sr. at 360-679-2533.

• On Saturday, Sept. 24, a Salvation Army truck will be in the Oak Harbor Safeway parking lot from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Suggested donations are clean, used clothes of all sizes, towels, sheets, pillow cases, blankets, suitcases and toys. Please do not donate broken items that do not work.

If you prefer to donate money to the Salvation Army disaster relief fund, you may do so by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY or 1-360-293-6682. Checks may be made out to “The Salvation Army” and mailed to The Salvation Army, P.O. Box 9219, Seattle WA 98109.

• Raise Money while golfing with glow-in-the-dark balls after sunset. Sign-up for the Saturday, Sept. 10, Glow Ball Golf Tournament held at Island Greens on French Road in Clinton. All green-fees have been donated by Dave Anderson, owner of Island Greens.

• Clinton resident, Donna Lee von Falkenberg, has a daughter who is employed by Cox Communication in Baton Rouge, La.  Her company has asked the employees to take people into their homes and has offered to match donations received for their care. Her daughter, Terilee Henderson, asked for contributions for people left with nothing but the clothes on their backs. 

Packages or donations may be sent to T. Henderson, C/O Cox Communications, 7401 Florida Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA  70806.

• The Red Cross is continuing to take donations. Call 1-800-HELP-NOW.

• A Navy family seeks donations as they go south to rescue relatives made homeless by the hurricane. Petty Officer, 2nd class, Michael Clofer and his wife Enjolie are renting a van to pick up five or six of her relatives in the New Orleans area. They would like to fill the van with clothes, bedding and toys and give them to shelters along the way. They also could use some financial assistance to offset travel expenses. Call 675-0116.

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